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Flavorpill at Art Basel Miami Beach: Day 1

Click here to view a slideshow of photos from Miami>>

Art Basel Miami Beach week started this year with yesterday’s Design Miami opening. Swiss Messe, ABMB’s parent company, is part owner of DM and decided to let the little sister bow first. It made for a lively day at the fair, however some of the celebrities that fly into town just in time for the ABMB opening seemed to be missing. The only star spotting at DM — other than the band OK Go, which was performing at the fair — was Naomi Campbell, although we later crossed paths with Pharrell Williams at the opening for Friends With You’s new shop in the Miami Design District.

DM has fewer exhibitors this year, but the same amount of space under the ArandaLasch-designed temporary structure — which adds up to a more spacious layout. Outstanding solo presentations in the exhibitors booths include Ayala Serfaty’s plastic cocoon-like lamps at Cristina Grajales; Mattia Bonetti’s new, surreal lighting and furniture pieces at Paul Kasmin Gallery; Studio Job’s Farm installation, which references country life through a variety of bronze, wood, and glass objects, such as a chicken bank and boot vase, at VIVID.

Special exhibition highlights are Arik Levy’s shifting, stark-white, geometric VIP Lounge for HSBC; architect Greg Lynn’s shimmering, biomorphic structure made from crystal-encrusted fabric; and Designer of the Year Maarten Baas’ survey show of cabinets, chairs, lighting, and fans, as well as two clock pieces set by hand by full-time attendants, operating in the walls behind them. Meanwhile, the normally controlled environment, got even looser with a performance by OK Go, which included furry guitars that projected laser beams, and Workshop Workshop, a space constructed by Graham Hudson from the DM build-out scraps.

Moving on from the DM opening, we ventured over to Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin for the opening of several shows in his massive Miami space, including commanding solo presentations by Bernard Frize and Mathew Day Jackson, and a dinner in the backyard. Dancing to live music was still to come, but we headed back to the MDD for the Bisazza opening, which offered more fantastic sculptures that played with everyday forms by Studio Job. On the same street, Nektar De Stagni was showing commissioned jewelry pieces by artists, such as Tom Sachs and Hernan Bas; Spinello Gallery offered its version of an art fair, called Littlest Sister, with score of excellent small works hung on partition walls; and Francesca DiMattio turned Locust Projects into a giant collage with works on the walls and floor. Nearby, David LaChapelle was showing new photographs, including negative blow-ups that simultaneously reveal both sides of 100, 500, and 1000 dollar bills from his Negative Money series.

Inspired, but bleary eyed, we drove over to Miami Beach for our second dinner of the night at a party for Mattia Bonetti at the Standard. Tables were set up on the bayside boardwalk, where about 100 guests dined under the stars. Jack-of-all-trades Ricky Clifton, who designed the Johnson Trading Gallery booth at DM, kept our table laughing with frank comments and amusing stories. Later we table-hopped and spoke with Kenny Scharf about his Wynwood Walls mural, which he said he had completed in one day — doing it old-school style, while others labored over their installations for two weeks.

Just when we thought we were done for the night, we ran into graf-artist Rostarr and his crew painting the Standard shuttle bus with a loopy black-and-white design. We weren’t sure where it might be taking people, but we were ready to get on board!

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